The State Corporation Commission (SCC) is reviewing Dominion’s plan for Virginia’s energy future — known as the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) — and they are seeking input from Virginians until September 18, 2017.
If you’ve seen Dominion Energy’s website or ads lately, you might think the company produces a lot of solar power. Don’t be fooled. Dominion’s long-term plan relies mostly on more dirty fossil fuels. The plan would increase climate pollution and lead to higher electricity bills.
In its plan, Dominion vastly overestimates future electricity demand to justify its preference for “cheap” natural gas. Yet experts estimate that building the company’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would actually increase customer costs by up to $2.36 billion. Meanwhile, the company restricts the amount of solar that can be added to the grid and pays little attention to the benefits of energy efficiency, distributed solar or wind energy.
If Dominion has its way, we’ll have an outdated electric system that relies on fossil fuels like coal and fracked gas, results in carbon emissions and air and water pollution, and ignores the benefits of clean and cost-effective renewable energy sources. And Virginia will continue to lag behind its neighbors, like North Carolina, in terms of installed solar resources.
Now is the time for Virginia to invest in a clean energy economy. Prices for wind and solar energy have never been lower. Solar and energy efficiency in particular are creating far more jobs than coal, oil and natural gas nationwide. But Dominion plans to invest predominantly in fracked-gas pipelines and power plants.
While Dominion claims a commitment to clean energy in Virginia, the IRP falls disappointingly short. We need to let the Commission know that Virginians want Dominion to incorporate more clean energy sources like wind and solar, not lock our state into another half-century of fossil fuel burning.
Both the Sierra Club and Appalachian Voices have petition pages where you can submit your comments:
Two recent articles from Blue Virginia are particularly interesting:
- 8-10-17 Dominion Fracked Gas Pipeline Approval Process All a Big “Sham”; “The propaganda of big business is just overpowering.” The article includes full audio of an August 10, 2017 conference call organized by Interfaith Power and Light about Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, with Rev. Laura Martin, Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ (Arlington), Jamshid Bakhtiari, Virginia Field Coordinator at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), Rev. Morris Fleischer, Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church (in the path of proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline), and Pastor Paul Wilson, Union Hill & Union Grove Baptist Churches (Buckingham County, in the path of proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline). The article summarizes the comments of the participants and includes a link to the full audio.
- 8-11-17 Doing the Math: Dominion’s and FERC’s Own Numbers Tell Us the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a Budget Buster. “You don’t need to rely on environmentalists’ climate calculations to know the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is carbon budget buster. Just look at the numbers provided in the past month by Dominion Energy Virginia and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. On July 14th, Dominion responded to interrogatories filed in the matter of the power company’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) now being considered by its regulator, the State Corporation Commission. In its responses, Dominion provided estimated carbon-pollution emissions through the year 2042 for eight different scenarios, Plans A – H. Dominion disclosed that its 2017 carbon pollution emissions will be 40 million tons per year, and that every one of its eight alternative plans will increase carbon pollution over the next 25 years.”
Work It, SOVA (May 30, 2017), reports that in an energy roundtable discussion in Danville on May 29, 2017, Governor McAuliffe applauded a Dan River Region solar energy project and said Virginia needs to get serious about alternative energy if it wants to attract large tech companies and other employers. “McAuliffe urged the state to jump on clean energy projects for several reasons. He noted that climate change could have a dramatic impact on the state, with rising sea levels threatening the Norfolk Naval Shipyard with flooding. Additionally, he said many tech companies like Google and Microsoft wanted to see investment in renewable energy before they would move to the area.”
If McAuliffe really wants Virginia to be a leader in clean energy, why in the world is he still supporting the ACP and MVP?!
A May 23, 2017 Bloomberg article discusses how the glut of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale has led to a massive boom in construction of new power plants. Dozens have been built in the last two years alone, adding a huge amount of power generation to a region that alredy has more than it needs. “There isn’t nearly enough electricity demand to support all the new capacity. And as wholesale electricity prices plunge, industry experts are anticipating a fire sale of scores of plants in the region. Many, in fact, have already been sold along the PJM Interconnection LLC grid, the nation’s largest, encompassing 13 states from Virginia to Illinois.” The slowdown in closures of coal-fired power plants resulting from more favorable policies under the Trump administration makes for an even bigger glut of power plants.
Yet despite decreasing demand for power and more power plants than needed, Dominion continues to insist it needs the ACP to meet increasing demand.
Four veterans spoke out Thursday, May 25, about fundamental problems they see with both the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline projects. They said they are “willing to defend their country and are going to defend their communities too.”
Retired U.S. Army officer Russell Chisholm said, “It’s really become about the control of state governments, abuse of vulnerable communities by the extraction industries.”
And retired U.S. Air Force Col. Dave Belote added,”My plea to the governor, to anyone who is elected into that role this November is stop looking backwards, let’s look forwards and let’s make the Commonwealth of Virginia a hub of clean renewable energy.”
And on May 25, 2017, members of the Veterans Service Corps sent a letter to Governor McAuliffe stating their opposition to the ACP and MVP. “These pipelines are not in the best interest of the people and we will not allow Dominion and the fossil fuel industry to put citizens in danger for the sake of their pocketbooks.”
According to “Virginia Electric and Power Company’s Report of Its Integrated Resource Plan, May 1, 2017,” only 3% of Dominion’s power output is generated from renewable energy sources. Yes, renewables are the fastest growing sector of the energy market and the biggest job growth area, but Virginia lags way behind.